Youth hostels face tough times—but they are perfect for authentic, spontaneous experiences, says researcher

When the New Zealand branch of the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) collapsed in 2021 and the country’s 11 hostels were forced to close, staff and punters alike were shocked. General manager Simon Cartwright cited the pandemic as the primary cause of the downturn in tourism revenues and the association’s financial woes. “YHA,” he said, “has been a cornerstone of youth travel in New Zealand for 89 years.”

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